Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 16, 2012

Man stabbed 11 times, suspects flee

TAHLEQUAH — A Muskogee man was stabbed nearly a dozen times early Wednesday morning after being lured into a Tahlequah motel room by two friends.

Police were called to Tahlequah City Hospital at about 1 a.m. when Ernest Norfleet, 52, showed up with a knife and covered in blood from his wounds. Doctors said Norfleet suffered 11 stab wounds and several other cuts on various portions of his body.

Norfleet was able to tell police he had driven himself to the hospital following an assault at the Cherokee Inn motel on Downing Street. He told officers a female acquaintance had called him, asking for help in Tahlequah and telling him she was having to sleep on a park bench.

Tahlequah Detective Jeff Haney said Norfleet began driving to Tahlequah and received another call from the woman, who told him she’d checked herself into a room at Cherokee Inn and that he could meet her there. Norfleet arrived at the motel and was waved inside by the woman.

“He goes in, and she steps in the bathroom,” said Haney. “When she comes out, so does her husband. Both had knives and lunged at the victim, assaulting him.”

Haney said a camera just outside the motel room captured the assault.

“The camera was pointed right at the room, with the door open, and you can see everything,” said Haney. “They continued to attack him in the parking lot. He was able to get one knife away from one assailant so he could try to defend himself, and then was able to escape the attackers and drive himself to the hospital. Once he left, the attackers went back into their motel room, gathered their stuff and fled.”

Haney said the two took Norfleet’s phone, and may have intended to take his car.

Search dogs tracked the suspects’ scent for a short distance from the motel, but eventually lost the trail. Haney said officers will continue searching for the suspects, both of whom are residents of Muskogee and are considered armed and dangerous. He plans to seek charges of assault with a deadly weapon and first-degree robbery against the two.

Norfleet received stitches and was released from the hospital Wednesday.

“Our officers are actively searching for the suspects in this crime,” said Police Chief Clay Mahaney. “We have solved several cases lately through the combined efforts of all my officers.”

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